Cooking with Chef Jean-Marc Fullsack

I am a proud graduate of the University of San Francisco.  I LOVED going to school there and is the main reason why I fell in love with this city.  Fun fact about me, I graduated in 2004 after going to school for only 2 years (Thank you AP classes & summer session!) so while I was there I primarily focused on my degree and didn't have an opportunity to take many electives.  

Graduation Day Dec 2004

Graduation Day Dec 2004

Awesome, yes, but I didn't realize until I met my friend Lily that I missed out on taking classes from one of the best: Chef Jean-Marc Fullsack!  


My friend Lily had the opportunity to work with him while she was at USF and raved about how amazing he was as a teacher, mentor, and well...chef! He's got a pretty impressive CV (Check it out here). 

When we met, we decided that we wanted to make something that was three things: affordable, easy, and delicious.  We toyed around with a bunch of his recipes and decided on creating a crispy prosciutto, parmesan, and basil chicken breast salad and a mini banana tarte tatin with almond crust.  He said that these are some of the most popular dishes he teaches to how to make at USF.

In this episode of The Buttery Existence, I get the opportunity to cook and learn from Chef Jean-Marc Fullsack, the Executive Chef and Instructor in the Hospitality Management Program at my alma mater, the University of San Francisco. Chef taught us how to make a delicious chicken salad and banana tartine using affordable ingredients that you can easily find at any supermarket.


So I've been cooking for 48 years.  The first start of my career was classicaly trained french chef career working in a 5 star restaurant.  Cooked food to die for and literally die for (lol)! And then I went into healthy cooking and worked with doctors and health care.  I realized that you can use food in many different ways.  You can use food for pleasure, for health reasons.  I have always taught a little bit on the way.  I have been teaching for 32 years at different schools and I have been here [USF] for 20 years.  
It's funny I come from a family of teachers, my sister is a professor, my uncle, my family all professors.  When I first set out to cook, I went to a hell kitchen type of situation, a horrible chef, a screaming chef. And then I was lucky to find a real talented [person] my master chef.  I realized there is a different way of learning cooking. And if cooking is taught in a really calm, and good manners, people can really use the skills and those are life long skills.  

Publishing his story could not come at a better time.  After hearing stories of horrible leaders in various industries, it's a breath of fresh air to meet someone like Chef.  His work reflects who he is as a person: kind, generous, and selfless.  He is passionate about sharing his craft with others, especially his students.   

One of the projects he's worked on at USF was a collaboration with the school of nursing that focused on healthy cooking and its affordability to low-income people.  Chef wanted to change the perception that healthy food is always expensive and unaffordable.  He worked with a limited budget of what a homeless shelter would available to them and was able to cook healthy meals for 350 people! 

Chef is a great example of the type of teachers and mentors I met while I was a student at the university.  They always encouraged me to be ambitious but to also consider how my actions and behaviors could positively or negatively affect those around me. 

I  am really inspired by the fact that Chef encourages his students and community to give back to others and to help uplift those who are less fortunate than ourselves.  He mentioned during our session that he wants to host a party with USF Alumni to cook food for the homeless in the near future - you can definitely count on me to be there! 




Serving Size  : 4

4 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 cup arugula salad
2 cup sherries tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes cut in half or slices


4 chicken breast
½ cup basil leaves cut in chiffonade
2 ounces parmesan cheese -- Grated
4 slice prosciutto


1.  Cut a foot-long plastic wrap and put a chicken breast on top.
2. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cut basil on one side of chicken.
3. Season lightly with salt and pepper (more pepper than salt).
4. Cover one side of the chicken breast lightly with parmesan cheese and top with one slice of prosciutto.
5. Put a square of plastic wrap over each breast and give them a few really good bashes with a mallet or pastry roller until they're about 1/2 inch thick.
6. To cook your chicken: Put a frying pan over a medium heat. Remove the plastic wrap and transfer the chicken breasts, prosciutto-side down, into the pan. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes on each side, turning halfway through, giving the ham side an extra 30 seconds to crisp up.
7. Remove chicken and reserve, deglaze pan with balsamic vinegar remove from heat and Wisk in the olive oil. 
8. Put the arugula and tomatoes on the bottom of a plate, sprinkle the rest of the basil leaves on top, drizzle a bit of olive oil, slice the chicken and place on top of lettuce drizzle with dressing.



SERVINGS: makes 12-Cup Muffins
Cupcake Pan

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 firm, ripe bananas


1 pack (about 1lb )  puff pastry
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 cup roasted almonds sliver
1 cup whipping cream


1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
2. In a saucepan, stir 1 ½ cup of sugar with ¼ cup of water to dissolve. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until a light amber caramel forms. Remove the skillets from the heat, add 4 tablespoons of butter stir until combined.
3. Pour 1 ½ tablespoon of hot caramel mixture into the bottom of each muffin mold.
4. Using the rest of the hot caramel in the saucepan add 1 cup of whipping cream and bring back to a boil to dissolve and make a caramel sauce (optional add 1 tablespoon of Rum).  
5. Slice the bananas to fit in the mold about 1 inch thick. pack the banana slices in each mold
6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry 1/4 inch thick. Using circle cookie cutter or wine glass, cut out o round that cover the top of the cupcakes mold
7. Poke the pastry all over with a fork or a knife and lay the rounds over the bananas. Lightly brush the pastry with the egg wash, and cover with slivered almonds
8. Bake the tarts in the upper and lower third of the oven for about 25 to 35 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and puffed and the filling is bubbling. If needed Shift the pans from top to bottom during baking for even browning.
9. When done remove from oven and put a piece of wax paper on top of the cupcakes pan press lightly and let rest for 15 minutes
10. Flip muffin thin over and carefully unmold.  

Make Ahead: The tarts can be baked early in the day and kept at room temperature.
Serve with Caramel sauce, Vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.


These dishes are so easy to make that I have already memorized the ingredients and instructions by heart for both.  I hope you try these out too and have as much fun as I did making them!